David Westerfield

Theology, Culture, Technology, Reviews, and Other Commentary

Tag: John Hendryx

Progressive Secularists Know in their Heart that God Exists

Progressive secularists know in their heart that God exists (Rom 1:21). Every time they moralize about racism, slavery, torture and corporate corruption they presuppose His existence. For if there is no ultimate justice then all of their moralizing would unintelligible because they have no point of reference… no objective standard to which they can appeal to in order to reveal how they know their morality has any basis. If they were consistent, it would mean that genocide was no different than a day with the family at Disneyland. We must gracefully but repeatedly take the time to ask them how they KNOW their view is true and what basis they have for declaring Christianity perverted and immoral.

– John Hendryx, Founder, Monergism.com

US in Depression and What it Means for the Church in America

The ‘D’ word is being uttered in the mainstream now. Despite whatever the media says concerning the ‘jobless recovery’ we’re in (which is a complete oxymoron) or the ‘summer recovery’ we’ve begun that Obama touted as truth last month, all indicators are pointing to the fact that the US is officially entering an era of economic depression, something not seen in my or my dad’s generation.

The numbers tell the story. A couple of articles in particular are pointing to this fact. One on CNBC, the other by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the Telegraph. In addition, even liberal, Keynesian economist Paul Krugman from the New York Times is calling this the beginning of the Third Depression, as I talked about in my last entry. He is dead wrong on how to fix it, but his diagnosis is correct.
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The Heart of the Calvinism Debate: Monergism vs. Synergism


(Image courtesy of Monergism.com)

Even though I could go through and give arguments for each of the five points, I believe this is much more helpful. This debate cuts directly through to the core of the matter. Many believers who know and love Christ disagree on Calvinism and its tenets, but the heart of the debate can be summed up in the debate between the theological system of monergism and synergism and nothing more. Though these may seem like high and lofty words, used merely by scholars to define doctrinal systems, just bear with me for a moment because these concepts are not difficult at all: synergism is essentially the idea that “faith arises out of an inherent capacity of the natural man,” (Hendryx) or in other terms, that faith is produced by our unregenerated (i.e. sin bound) human nature, that man cooperates with God in salvation and more specifically in regeneration; and monergism is the idea that God alone does the work in salvation, having provided everything necessary to save His people, and that our faith in Christ is simply the result of a newly regenerated heart. Or simply put in a question format, does man cooperate with God in salvation, or is it God’s work alone? When two people hear the Gospel, why does one person believe while another doesn’t? Your answer to these questions reveals your system of doctrines on the nature of God, man, sin, election, regeneration, faith, justification, sanctification, as well as many other doctrines. And though many think these two opposing concepts to be mere hair-splitting over theological differences, these really do have larger ramifications in the areas of personal sanctification, evangelism, prayer, ministry philosophy, teaching/preaching, and many other areas. This is indeed a very important debate and much is at stake for the Gospel and ultimately God’s glory. And the main question we must answer is, what does the Word of God teach concerning these things?

Here I’ve listed what I feel are some very important articles addressing this subject with substantial Scripture references, and I ask you to take some time and read them, study the Scriptures mentioned, and determine it for yourself. I really do believe (speaking from experience of course) that once you understand and see that monergism is the more Biblical of the two positions, you will be drawn deeper into worship of the Almighty God, and stand in awe at your own unworthiness and His great might, power, and mercy to save His people from the consequences of sin and reconcile them to Himself (the latter being the greatest of all the blessings of salvation).

Two Views of Regeneration (A Very Helpful Chart)
Monergism vs. Synergism – John Hendryx
The Work of the Trinity in Monergism – John Hendryx
Monergism – Synergism Debate – Hendryx vs. Moser
Responding to Critics of Monergism – Hendryx
Regeneration Precedes Faith – R.C. Sproul

Free Will – “Is the Will Free by Nature or by Grace?” – John Hendryx

(Updated 9/9/2011)

“Is the Will Free by Nature or By Grace?” – John Hendryx (personal commentary below)

It’s very important to define the term Free Will. Many will discuss this and get into arguments with others over whether it does or doesn’t exist, when really there needs to be some more explaining to do on both ends. But because emotions run high, and because terms are not defined from the beginning, arguments get out of hand and both parties sin as a result in treating their brother in Christ wrongfully, or at the very least walk away completely misunderstood.

Free Will can essentially be defined as this: choosing what we desire most. That’s really all there is to it. I don’t think either a Calvinist or an Arminian can disagree with that. I have a choice presented to me to eat either pizza or tacos. At a given moment I may desire tacos more than pizza and therefore I choose tacos. We choose what we desire most. So I have the ability as a free agent to make choices based on what I want. So how does Free Will fit into this? What is it that I want apart from the grace of God stepping in to change me? Well, it’s very clear from Romans 8:7-8, Romans 3:9-18, and many other places, that our wills and our desires, including every other facet of our existence, is bound up in sin, slaves to sin. Sin is our master apart from the work of God to incline us to Himself. So apart from the intervening work of the Holy Spirit, what is it that we desire most? Sin, wickedness, trampling on the glory of God; anything but the living God. Even the benevolent things done to others that are done without giving glory to God, done without faith, is sin (Romans 14:23).

Therefore, as a result, though we are free to make choices and are responsible for those choices, our very choices are always bent toward sin and rejecting Christ and will never choose Christ, apart from being regenerated first by the Holy Spirit in order that we irresistibly desire Christ and as a result choose Him. God must first choose to regenerate us to even be able to want Christ (1 John 4:19). So yes in one sense, Free Will doesn’t exist because apart from an inward change by the work of the cross, we will always choose sin because that’s what we desire most, and so we are enslaved to sin. But in another sense we have the ability to choose one thing over another and are responsible for that choice. But our desires are corrupted by sin and we therefore choose sin and are unable to submit to the law of God and the Gospel. I write all this to point out that we must define our terms when debating with those in disagreement with our position, and more than anything be loving to them, just as Christ has loved us and gave Himself up for us.

So what is our hope, if we are bound in sin, unable to submit to the law of God and the Gospel? What can we do? By the power of the cross of Christ alone, believe in the name of Jesus and you will be saved. For there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). Not only does God provide the answer in Christ, but He also graciously provides the means to attain to that grace, namely the gift of faith and repentance. What God demands of us He freely gives us in Christ. “To suppose that whatever God requireth of us that we have power of ourselves to do, is to make the cross and grace of Jesus Christ of none effect.” – John Owen.

Our hope lies not with our abilities, our will, our strength, our moral resolution to attain to God’s good favor, but with God alone and His power, appropriated through the cross of Christ. He must first regenerate us and as a result He will give rise to our faith. Just as in creation, He creates light in the darkness, from the void brings forth life. It is the same in salvation. And this work by God was made possible by the cross of Christ and His resurrection from death. Not only has He bought the salvation of some for sure through His work, but He also bought everything necessary in order for us to believe, purchasing even the gifts of faith and repentance (Ephesians 2:8, 2 Timothy 2:25). Therefore, if you know Him, cry out in gratitude that He looked upon you in the condition of bondage to sin and fall at His feet in worship. And if you don’t know Him but see Him as good and yourself as dreadfully sinful and beyond your own repair, throw yourself at His feet and cry out to Him to have mercy on You in your sinfulness and wickedness, granting you the gifts of repentance and faith. Cry out as the man in Mark 9:24, “I believe; help my unbelief!” The Lord is ready and willing.

To read more on this, you definitely have to read J.I. Packer’s very short section on free will in his book Concise Theology. In addition, check out the entire section on Free Will at Monergism.com. (both below)

Inability by J.I. Packer – From Concise Theology

Monergism :: Free Will

Monergism.com – Reformed Directory of Theology

Just wanted to give everyone a brief introduction to Monergism.com. The breadth of material on this site is astounding, on almost every conceivable theological topic imaginable. Monergism, in its basic form, is about the Gospel; the Biblical, truthful Gospel. It’s about self-deprecation, God-exaltation; it simply describes the very Biblical truth that in our sinfulness, we cannot and will not understand the things of God, His way of salvation in Jesus Christ, or that we are even in need, apart from Him coming and removing our heart of stone and giving us a heart of flesh. Monergism is all about the fact that it is God alone who regenerates us, we don’t participate in the regeneration of our hearts. To say that we in any way cooperate with God concerning our salvation is to not understand human nature from a properly interpretted Biblical point of view. It is true that God does not believe for us, we exercise our own faith and truly believe on Christ of our own volition, but that volition is dead in sin until God creates in us something that was not there. The only reason anyone is saved at all is because of God applying the work of redemption on those He’s chosen, the work of redemption bought by Jesus Christ on the cross, paid for in His blood. Monergism is an admittance to how unbelievably wicked we are, how we will never turn to Christ apart from His regeneration to give us eyes to see and ears to hear, and how infinitely loving and merciful God is to save anyone at all. This concept can be found in many parts of Scripture, but somehow seems to go overlooked by many pastors and teachers these days. It’s comfortable in our humanness to believe things about God that make us feel warm and fuzzy, but it seems that as soon as you give people a taste of what it’s like to not be sovereign, to be a true subordinate on the eternal level, that’s when people seem to throw up all of their offenses against God, that He is free and can do whatever He pleases. It is in my opinion that this concept unlike any other concept really tests where your faith is. In my experience, most people (not all though) that struggle with this are also in some way struggling in their faith to some degree or another. This is not to say that every person who disagrees with this very Biblical concept is floundering in their faith, but it is to say that the people I have personally dealt with on this issue of God’s election, application of the atonement, etc., almost every one of them were struggling with their faith at some level. So basically, the theme of the Scrpitures is one of Monergism, that God does it all, that we are “dead in our sins” prior to faith, the faith that God gives us on His own agenda. This website is one of my favorite sites, I always learn something new, and it challenges me to always be loving Christ with all my heart in my time spent with Him personally, to love Him with all my mind in pursuing the knowledge of Christ through Biblical theological understanding, and to love Him with all my strength by putting hands and feet to my actions, behavior, and in every other way, to gloryify Christ because He is my lovely Savior.

Monergism / Synergism Debate – John Hendryx

A Bulldozer Against Synergism: Monergism / Synergism Debate – John Hendryx (Absolutely Excellent!)

I cannot stress the importance of understanding what is at stake here in this debate. Many believers set this debate aside as a “non-issue” or that we’re just arguing over theological semantics that have no real significance in the believers life. What is at stake is a correct and truthful understanding of 1) man, 2) God, and 3) how a person is saved, which inevitably affects your Gospel presentation.

What you believe concerning these things has ramifications in your life all across the board in regard to your dictation of the Gospel to unbelievers, what you believe about God, and how you live out what you believe in your life, just to name a few. It has to do with coming to a true, scriptural understanding of our nature as humans being so exceedingly corrupt and God’s unsurpassable holiness, justice, love, mercy, grace, perfection, sovereignty, and righteousness.

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